Unhappiness used to mean something Now it’s just a drag like a cold or having no money

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Washington Babylon a world of bribery, booze, and broads

According to prosecutors, Wilkes and Wade generously remunerated Duke Cunningham for steering government business their way. Wilkes, prosecutors allege, gave Cunningham more than $600,000 in bribes, including two checks totaling $100,000 and $525,000 to pay off a mortgage. (Wilkes, through his attorney, denies these allegations.) In February, Wade pleaded guilty to bribing Cunningham with over $1 million—but he operated with more panache, indulging Cunningham’s taste for outsize antiques. The trove he offered included Persian and Indian rugs, sleek Louis-Philippe and Restoration commodes, a $24,000 Victorian china hutch, leaded-glass cabinets, and silver candlesticks worth $5,600. “Duke liked his antiques big and he liked them expensive,” explains a Maryland antiques dealer, who despaired of his taste. (Duke got other gifts as well: a secondhand Rolls-Royce and the use of Wade’s 42-foot boat, renamed the Duke-Stir.)

Probably not much new here for those that have been following the story as events unfolded at Talking Points Memo, but puts many of the pieces together. Cunningham seems to have started out in life honorably enough and that is part of what makes the story so sensational. It is not the pleasure of some gotha as yet another conservative bites the dust. It is more that given this tremendous opportunity and the trust of the voters in his district Cunningham choose to betray his country for money.

A very interesting look inside Google. How their business philosophy and their employee’s work habits affected the design of the Google complex, Behind the Glass Curtain

The convivial atmosphere was something the cofounders, who were very involved with the design process, wanted to foster. For Wilkinson, who is accustomed to clients demanding revolutionary work spaces, this was nothing unusual. However, after spending time with Page and Brin and the Google engineers that would occupy the building, Wilkinson realized that he was dealing with a distinctly different species of personnel. “We’ve always worked with people who were a mix of left and right brain,” Wilkinson says, “but engineers are very left brain. They might work in teams, but they require a high level of concentration; they sit in front of the computer and crunch formulas in the most extraordinary way.” Despite the fun, “it’s a very demanding work culture,” says Andrew Laing of DEGW, who has done workplace research studies with other technology companies such as Microsoft. “It’s designed almost as a living environment—it’s much more like being at a university than being in a conventional work environment.”

MOMA- The Museum of Modern Art, What is a Print – expect a pop-up and some flash.

The Truth Behind the Dishonest and Despicable Bush Attack on the NYT

The Bush administration has repeatedly bragged about its efforts and self-proclaimed success tracking terrorist financing since the September 11 attacks. The government described its quest to catch financiers in numerous public documents, reports and Capitol Hill testimonies. Even as far back as 1990, the Council on Europe called for greater cooperation between Interpol and agencies like SWIFT – a global banking hub that monitors millions of transfers worth trillions of dollars.

Comras co-authored a 2002 report for the UN Security Council describing how “critical” data-rich international clearinghouses, like SWIFT (the Society for Worldwide Interbank Financial Telecommunication) or CHIPS (Clearing House Interbank Payments System) and the Federal Reserve Wire Transfer System, could be monitored for terror-related transactions – a tactic adopted by Canada’s financial intelligence agency FinTRAC, which requires banks there to provide it with SWIFT data.

“The U.S. was touting quite loudly its tracking of terrorist financing,” said Comras, an attorney and consultant on terrorism financing. “If they’re doing that, it’s only logical that they’re following the funds through the clearinghouses.

No matter how much hot air they have to pump into this non-story conservatives are still pointing their hypocritical little fingers at the NYT, though it is bizarre that the the Wall Street Journal has escaped their ire. One supposes that since WSJ’s editorials read like some crazed rantings from Timothy McVeigh speaking from beyond the grave they get a pass. Some looney winger at American Spectator (which is a short way of describing people that sit on the sidelines and let other people die for a lie) rests their entire case that the press was wrong to print anything about SWIFT because several administration officials said it would present risks. These would be the same officials from the same administration that cannot seem to tell the truth about anything. It is little wonder that the NYT or L.A. Times editors took everything they said with a grain of salt. Of course the fringe right has never cared anything about credibility, so why should they care about the consequences of not having any. How seriously can this country take people whose mental lives are constructed of broken glass, ever lasting grape gum drops of fear, and the emotional maturity of a six day old hedgehog. How do you teach real patriotism to people like that.

ROB
Those were the ones that really hurt.
Can you see your name in that list,
Laura? Maybe you’d sneak into the
top ten, but there’s no place for
you in the top five. Sorry. Those
places are reserved for the kind of
humiliations and heartbreaks that
you’re just not capable of delivering.

He adjusts the angle of the TV, stuffs a creepy family
portrait into a drawer.

ROB
That probably sounds crueler than
it’s meant to, but the fact is, we’re
too old to take each other miserable.
Unhappiness used to mean something.
Now it’s just a drag like a cold or
having no money.

He moves through the living room to an open window facing
the street. Looking down two stories, he sees Laura emerge
from the building and drag her bags toward her car across
the street.

ROB
If you really wanted to mess me up,
you should have got to me earlier.

from the screenplay HIGH FIDELITY by  D.V. De Vincentis, Steve Pink, & John Cusack